Rockets show they belong at state
The Forrest wrestling team made its first-ever appearance at the TSSAA Dual Wrestling Championships last weekend at the Williamson County Expo Center and the Rockets made an impact before Alcoa eliminated them in the second consolation round 53-30.
Forrest lost to Hixon in round one before coming up with its only win, beating Greenbrier in the first round of consolations bouts.
"This is where we need to be, we had some bright spots and I'm extremely proud of the kids who had a great opportunity to come here and wrestle at the state tournament," said Forrest coach Kyle Stacey.
"Hopefully we can start making a name for ourselves at the state level in the dual meets."
Rocket freshman standout Dylan Pendley continued his magical season, remaining undefeated on the season at 40-0 by picking up three wins in the tournament in the 113-pound weight class.
"I had a couple of tough matches and I'm ready for the individuals next week," said Pendley.
In Friday's first-round 57-21 loss to the Hixon Wildcats, Pendley won a tough three-round 12-5 decision over Spencer Groves.
Dylan Booker had the only other points for Forrest by non-forfeit in the Hixon match when he came up with a first-round pin over Jerrold Higginbotham in the 170-pound weight class.
"Booker has worked hard, you can just see his improvement throughout the year as a first-year wrestler, he's listened to what we have taught him and he came up with a big win for us today," said Stacey.
Ivan Wentzel (152) and Jerry Jordan (160) were both forfeit winners for the Rockets versus the Wildcats.
"Hixon was a tough team, we talked to our team before the match about getting some momentum and we just couldn't get that," said Stacey.
Undeterred, the Rockets came back for Saturday morning's consolation, taking on a Greenbrier squad that defeated Forrest 42-38 in the opening meet of the season at Lipscomb Academy.
This time the Rockets did get off to good start with CJ Monce (120) picking up a tough 18-12 decision over Zane Lynch.
Greenbrier came back with two straight pins to move ahead by three points, but Clepper Watson (145) tied the match with a 7-2 decision over Jesse Genasio.
Ivan Wentzel (152) swung the momentum in Forrest's favor when he gutted out a 10-8 overtime win over Hunter Hall and Jerry Jordan (160) followed with a pin over Joey Swindle, giving the Rockets a 21-12 lead.
Greenbrier's Wyatt Baxter (170) sliced the Rockets' lead to three points, winning by a fall over William Eddins.
Booker (182) was in the midst of a very tough match with Hayden Boyles when the Greenbrier wrestler injured his right arm at the 1:23 mark of the second period and had to be carried off by stretcher.
From there, Forrest put the match away as Billy Clanton (195) and Nikolas McGuiggan (220) came up with back-to-back pins, making it 39-12.
Toby Lynch (285) pinned Forrest's Dillon Kydd and Spencer Matherley (106) picked up a forfeit win for Greenbrier before Pendley was awarded a forfeit in the last bout of the match.
"We wanted one win and we got it," said Stacey. "The kids fought and bounced back from last night and it was tough, but that's the way it's supposed to be here."
Alcoa jumped on the Rockets early in the second round of the consolation bouts, going up 18-0 before Watson (145) got Forrest on the scoreboard when he pinned Isaac Lorenzo.
"That was a tough match, every time I was on top he tried to stand up and run, so I just couldn't get much on him, but I kept trying and trying until I finally got him on a head toss," said Watson.
"I'm proud of everyone, we gave it our all and now we are all looking forward to individuals next week at Eagleville."
Austyn Renshaw (152), Karim Shereef (160), and George Hooker (170) all won by falls in the next three bouts for Alcoa, putting the Rockets in a 36-6 hole.
Booker lost on a 20-4 technical fall before Clanton came up huge again for the Rockets, taking down Kris Dockery.
McGuiggan continued to shine for the Rockets when he pinned Bryson Perkins.
Alcoa won the next bout and Harley Sisk was awarded a forfeit in the 106-pound weight class.
Pendley kept his unblemished mark intact with a pin over Ethan Flowers and the Rockets' state tournament appearance ended when Anthony Richardson (120) capped off the Tornadoes' win with a pin over Justin Leonard.
Pigeon Forge would win the Class A-AA event, defending its state title by beating Hixon 32-23 in the championship match.